Staff Office, Prime Minister’s Suite — M94.5North Wing, Main Floor
This room was used as an office for the Prime Minister’s staff in the Prime Minister’s suite.
This room is situated in the northeast corner of the Provisional Parliament House, an area that was occupied by the Prime Minister and his staff throughout the life span of the building. The original suite of rooms was occupied by fourteen of the Australian Prime Ministers, from Stanley Melbourne Bruce (Prime Minister from 1923-1929) to William McMahon (Prime Minister from 1971-1972). In 1972, due to a growing number of Ministers and staff in the building, the suite was demolished. New offices (for the Prime Minister and his staff), an anteroom (used for press conferences and as a waiting room) and bathrooms for the Prime Minister and his staff were built in its place. These particular rooms were only occupied by three Prime Ministers: Gough Whitlam (Prime Minister from 1972-1975), Malcolm Fraser (Prime Minister from 1975-1983) and Bob Hawke (Prime Minister from 1983-1991).
Despite the extra space in the new, larger suite, there was a large number of staff that needed to work in this area and still only limited space. While it is evident that many of the small offices in this suite had to accommodate more than one employee, plans suggest this room did not. This office was used by numerous staff and Ministers between 1972 and 1988 who worked for the Prime Minister, including private secretaries (when Whitlam occupied the suite) and political advisors, such as Peter Barron (when Hawke occupied the suite). The political advisors, the economic advisor and the foreign advisor adhered to the ‘clear desk’ policy and carried out most of their business by telephone.